Dance Team Like ‘Family’

Dance+Team+Like+%27Family%27

Elizabeth Bolin, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

It’s hard to imagine Friday night football games without the glittery costumes and blinding smiles of the dance team. But what goes into those flawless kicks and meticulous routines?

“Dance team means more than the average athletic team or extracurricular activity,” says senior Ariana Kussow. “Dance team is all about taking unique and talented girls from all different backgrounds and training them to become one successful team.”

Kussow has danced on the team since her sophomore year and is adamant that it has impacted her life for the better. When asked for advice she would give to hesitant students considering dance team, Kussow’s advice was simple and encouraging: “Don’t be nervous…not every girl has a dance background [and] it can’t hurt to try!”

Kussow plans to attend either the University of Wisconsin-Madison or the University of Minnesota and is looking forward to any dance opportunities in her future.

The senior’s experience has led her to become a mentor and role model for younger girls on the team, such as Grace Balison, a freshman, who says, “The seniors are all amazing role models as dancers, students and people.”

Balison applauds the sense of unity on the team as they embrace new members. “The team is so welcoming and energetic,” she said, “that you pretty much have to be yourself and loud to have the best time.”

Maddie VanSaders, another dance team captain set to graduate in May, said, “Being on the dance team has been my identity in high school, and I am very proud to be a part of it.”

She too feels a close bond with the girls and all involved. “Dance team has affected [me] tremendously. It has taught me to have a passion for what I’m doing and for the people I’m doing it with.”

However, dance team is not all fun and games. With a rotation of workouts as well as practices up to six times a week, no one can deny the fact that dance team is a rigorous, year-round sport.

“[I think] some sports look down on the dance team as being easier than their sport, when we work just as hard. [For example, interval training] was intensely hard work, but it made us a much stronger team,” said Balison.

All the hard work results in the satisfaction of a single, cohesive team once performance time arrives.

“When we’re out on that field, it feels [as though] time slows down, because we know that every second counts,” explained Balison.

The dancers believe hard work and perseverance help them overcome obstacles. Indeed, in the end, the team comes down to one thing: friendship.

VanSaders sums it up perfectly:  “Dance team is like my family…year to year I have [participated on] the team because it is a group of people that I know will love me on the bad days, and [join me] in the good ones.”